A recent breakthrough in aluminum-battery research could eventually replace lithium and alkaline batteries: Hongjie Dai, professor of chemistry, and his colleagues at Stanford University created flexible, low-cost, and highly-rechargeable aluminum batteries.
They can discharge and recharge 7,500 times without losing capacity, while other aluminum batteries generally only survive 100 recharge cycles. Their fast recharge rate of about one minute massively outperforms typical lithium batteries, which take hours to recharge and can only withstand 1,000 recharge cycles.
On top of that, aluminum is less expensive lithium. And, unlike lithium batteries, they’re not prone to catching fire. Also, aluminum batteries have less impact on the environmental versus their alkaline cousins.
Watch a video on Stanford's aluminum batteries, courtesy of Engineering TV, below:
The battery supplies 2 V, making it the highest-power aluminum battery yet, and thus becoming an effective alternative to AA and AAA alkaline batteries. However, it still only produces half that of a typical lithium battery. The team expects to improve the cathode of the battery to achieve higher power generation. Right now, the cathode consists of graphite.
The new aluminum-anode batteries stand out as especially good candidates for future solar-grid batteries. The cathode and anode sit in a flexible, polymer-coated pouch with a liquid ionic electrolyte, making them flexible—a growing trend in solar technology.
Read more about the batteries in Nature Journal.